Food waste is a problem. It is an expensive problem that costs the average Canadian family of 4 about $50 dollars per week or 873 pounds of food yearly per person.
How does this happen? We certainly don’t intend to toss our hard earned money into the compost every week, but somehow we do. Bulk purchases, grocery shopping without a list and eating out are among the most common reasons.
Below are a few simple strategies help you reduce your weekly waste and keep a little extra in your piggy bank.
Failing to Plan, is Planning to Fail
Weekly menu planning doesn’t only help your week go a whole lot smoother and keep you out of the drive thru, it also helps you curate a grocery list where each purchase has a purpose, other than to spoil in your fridge. Is that wilted lettuce in the back of your fridge?
Saving for a Rainy Day
Save produce trimmings in a freezer bag to be used at a later day for making homemade soup broth. Carrot peelings, broccoli stems and celery ends will happily keep in the freezer until you are in the mood for soup…you know, like on rainy days!
Give Herbs a Chance
It isn’t herbs fault that we often struggle with using them up efficiently. When you purchase fresh herbs, store in a glass jar with water. The herbs will continue drinking water and stay fresh longer than in a sad little plastic bag. If you can possibly use all that dill, cilantro or any other herb before it goes bad, freeze it & use later. Simply wash, chop and mix with a little olive oil. Use your ice cube tray and make herb cubes. Once frozen, pop out of the tray and into a labelled container. Herbs this way are perfect for cooking with, just not so great for dishes requiring herbs as a final touch or garnish.
Save the Dishes
No I’m not talking about the takeout service! When eating out, take home your leftovers. Bring along your own glass container to keep one use dishes out of the landfill.
Cook Once, Eat Twice
It not only gives you the opportunity to use up special ingredients before they go bad, you also get a night off in the kitchen. Make a second pan of your family favourite and pop it into the fridge. You can thank me later.
Hold Onto Your Wallet
Before you take a trip to your nearest big box bulk store, think about what you intend on buying. Make purchases based on what you need, not what is the best deal. I am certain that I’m not the only one that heads into buy one thing and walks out with five more.
Use It Up Baby
Enjoy a ‘use it up’ meal. The night before you do your weekly grocery shop, make a meal with all the leftover bits and pieces. Soups, stews, curries, salads and frittatas are great options here!
I’m sure you have some fantastic strategies that I just didn’t get around to sharing. I would love to hear from you! What are your favourite ways to keep waste to a minimum in your kitchen?